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Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears by…

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears (original 1975; edition 1980)

by Verna Aardema

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2,9282171,964 (4.11)14
Title:Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears
Authors:Verna Aardema
Info:Scholastic (1980), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:ETEC 525

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Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears by Verna Aardema (1975)


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Summary: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears is a West African Tale that tells the story of a mosquito who lies to lizard about a farmer digging yams as big as mosquitos. Lizard puts sticks in his ears, which offends a python, who frightens a rabbit, which scares a crow who sends off an alarm of danger, which startles monkey and causes him to fall on an owl's nest and kills her baby. Owl then refuses to call up the sun, and King Lion holds a meeting of the animals. Owl blames the monkey, who blames the next animal, until it comes back to mosquito. The last page shows mosquito buzzing in a person's ear, claiming to want to know if the other animals are still mad at him, while the person swats the mosquito.

Personal Connection: This story reminded me of other legends I have heard, and I liked the underlying message of not spreading rumors. I also liked the use of watercolor and ink.

-Meet the Author movie: https://www.teachingbooks.net/author_collection.cgi?id=14&mid=31
-Book reading: https://www.teachingbooks.net/book_reading.cgi?id=8245
-Caldecott Award, 1976

Application to Teaching: Legends such as these would be great for a unit on central message, or to be used in a unit on cause and effect. ( )
  alliecipolla | Jul 19, 2017 |
Summary: This book retells an African folktale in a culturally neutral way. The people in the book are (western) cultural minorities, but the book is ultimately about the dangers of spreading misinformation. The mosquito tells a lie that leads to the whole forest being put in great danger.
Personal Reflection: I wrote about this for my blackboard assignment. The best thing about this book is that its popularity has meant whit children get to see brown children represented in a book in a way that seems perfectly innocuous.

Extension 1: Since the book in some ways resembles a game of telephone, have the kids line up and play this classic game to find out the outcome.

Extension 2: Drawing can help connected kids to a story on a more personal level, let the students draw a sequel to the story—how do they think the story could be continued?
  GaryReddin | Jul 17, 2017 |
This is a traditional folktale about why mosquitoes buzz. It is a charming story with wonderful artwork. I loved the colors. The only thing that was difficult for me was the story repetitions. This can be wonderful when reading aloud to children to create familiarity with the sounds of the words, but when I read it to my 8 yr. old, I found my mouth running out of juice towards the end. ( )
  BrindelStubbs | Jun 10, 2017 |
I always wondered why mosquitos buzz. My question has been answered from this wonderful book about the owl not waking the sun due to the death of her owlet. What causes the death is the chatting of all the animals in the jungle. Once the king and animals realize it is the fault of the mosquito that this has occurred, they decide to punish him; however he hides. Because of this, he comes out of the shadows to ask if all are still mad at him...hence the buzzing...and he is greeted with a swat. Now he knows the answer and continues to question to see if he will ever be forgiven.

Lesson plan: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plans/teaching-content/why-mosquitoes-buzz-peoples-ears-discussion-guide/

https://www.teachervision.com/lesson/making-inferences-why-mosquitoes-buzz-peoples-ears ( )
  SraSpoer | Apr 17, 2017 |
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears is appropriate for Kindergarten through 2nd grade as a read aloud text. As an independent text for first and second grade. It can also be used as a mentor text for 5th and 6th grade. This book could be used as a read aloud because it is engaging to a wide variety of students and the pictures are bright and engaging. The book draws in the attention of the whole class. It is an appropriate reading level for first and second graders, but may be long. This book can be used to show the use of figurative language the book uses many onomatopoeia's to engage and describe the character's actions to the reader. The book also uses repetition to emphasize key details and tracking the character's actions. The character's actions are very important to the book, because of the character's actions another character perceived the actions and did another action in response. The book show cause and effect, and how things can evolve with one action. The repetition of each animal's actions show order and sequence and emphasize tracking.
  MeredithCox | Apr 4, 2017 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Verna Aardemaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dillon, DianeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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For Marcia VanDuinen who heard this story first
First words
One morning a mosquito saw an iguana drinking at a waterhole.
Is everyone still mad at me?
Mosquito told me such a big lie, I couldn't bear to listen to it. So I put sticks in my ears.
I'd rather be deaf than listen to such nonsense!
It was the mosquito's fault
The mosquito said, "I saw a farmer digging yams that were almost as big as I am."
"What's a mosquito compared to a yam?" snapped the iguana grumpily.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
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Original language
Book description
This West African pourquoi tale explains why mosquitoes buzz in people's ears. It all starts with Mosquito telling a lie to Iguana. Tired of listening to Mosquito, Iguana puts twigs in his own ears. When Python tries to talk to Iguana and Iguana doesn't respond to him, it sets off a chain of events that leads to the sun not rising in the morning. King Lion must learn the story of the events leading back to Mosquito's lie in order to get Mother Owl to call the sun. The story is enhanced by beautiful Caldecott winning illustrations.

If you enjoyed this story, try "Ahanti to Zulu: African Traditions".
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Reveals the meaning of the mosquito's buzz.

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